Saskatoon

Nutrien laying off 80 workers at Vanscoy potash mine

Agriculture giant Nutrien has announced plans to cut 20 full-time and 60 part-time hourly positions at a Saskatoon-area potash mine.

2nd round of layoffs in 2 years

Nutrien has announced it will be cutting 80 positions at the Vanscoy mine in 2019 as it slows down production. (Nutrien)

Agriculture giant Nutrien has announced plans to cut 20 full-time and 60 part-time hourly positions at a Saskatoon-area potash mine.

On Tuesday, the company said it was cutting back production at its Vanscoy mine as a way to cut costs while the potash market rebounds.

"It's terrible," said Darrin Kruger, staff representative for the United Steelworkers. "It's terrible for workers, it's terrible for families and it's terrible for communities."

Nutrien announced a similar round of layoffs at the Vanscoy mine in August 2018. At that time, 30 full-time employees and 50 contractors were affected.

Kruger said the news came as a surprise and it will be hard on workers.

"This would be devastating news to them especially after the site just went through this," he said. "We all want to work with those those members and their families and get them settled." 

The Vanscoy mine is expected to reduce production from 2.2 million tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes. At the same time, Nutrien said it plans to raise production at its lower-cost mines.

The layoffs are expected to be in place by fall 2019.

The company said it expects 80 vacancies to open at other Saskatchewan mine sites this year. It's not clear how many workers will be willing to relocate.

"If you live in in Saskatoon and you have a family here and maybe a spouse that works here, you've got your roots in the community," said Kruger. "You may not be picking up and moving to Rocanville anytime soon."

Nutrien said it would do everything it could to support the laid-off employees and families.

The company employs about 4,000 people across the province.

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